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Big change in weather coming

Get ready for a big change in the weather. State climatologist Barry Keim says high temperatures today will be in the 70s and tomorrow they'll be back in the 30s and 40s as a result of a strong cold front.
"So expect big changes in the temperature today, once that front begins bearing down on your location," Keim said.

This front has the potential to produce another round of winter precipitation. Keim says the northern half of the state could see see freezing rain during the overnight hours. 
"Which will include the Alexandria area, and all points north of Alexandria in Louisiana, including Shreveport and Monroe." 
Eight parishes are under a winter storm watch and it covers Monroe, Farmerville, Oak Grove and Ruston. The National Weather Service says there's a potential of up to a quarter of an inch of freezing rain and sleet accumulations during the early morning hours on Thursday in these areas.  

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Kennedy sees pros and cons in proposed budget

State Treasurer John Kennedy sees pros and cons to Governor Bobby Jindal's budget proposal.  The governor has proposed scaling back certain tax credits and cut spending in other areas to address a $1.6 billion revenue shortfall.  

Kennedy says some of the proposed reductions in spending make sense, especially in the area of consulting contracts.
"He's going to get rid of a call center consultant, I think, for about $3.3 million.  He's going to reduce the number of consultants at the Department of Education, $6.8 million."

Kennedy says the proposed budget looks to reduce the 60-percent of the deficit by repealing tax credits and 40-percent by reducing spending.  However, Kennedy does question the proposal of closing all health clinics in New Orleans, which will effect about 57,000 people.

"That's going to drive people to the emergency room and it will cost four to five times more to threat them in an emergency room than in the private clinic.  So, while in the short term, there may be a reduction, in the long term it could cost us more money."

Kennedy spoke about the budget on Louisiana Radio Network's Jim Engster show.  He says the budget's biggest revenue increase comes with the repeal of the inventory tax credit, which would add about $525 million dollars to the state's coffers.  Kennedy says he's not sure this was chosen wisely.

"Increasing this inventory tax is going to really effect a lot of businesses, about about a thousand businesses in Louisiana.  And many of them are going to be small businesses." 

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LABI plans to fight repeal of the inventory tax credit

The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry plans to fight Governor Bobby Jindal's proposal to repeal the inventory tax credit.  Such a move would save the state an estimated $380 million which could be used for health care and higher education.  

But LABI Vice President, Jim Patterson, says a repeal of this tax credit would be devastating to business across the state.
"And, to the degree that this will now cease, as the governor declares these amounts non-refundable, the impact will be very adverse to our economy."

Patterson says the vast majority of states do not have inventory taxes, so if the refund went away, jobs could leave as well.

"If, in fact, this occurs, businesses make the logical decision to shift their inventories to, let's say, states who do not have such a tax."

Patterson says if those inventories are moved, it would mean countless warehouse jobs across the state would be lost.  He says Louisiana is one of only 13 states that have an inventory tax on the books.  Patterson says if the inventory tax credit is repealed, then business will have to make up that money somewhere.

"Business will, necessarily to the degree that they can, businesses will pass this along to consumers." 

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